SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. federal court revived a lawsuit on Monday against Gerber Products which alleges the company deceptively marketed its Fruit Juice Snacks for toddlers.
Parents brought the claim against Gerber, which Nestle AG NESN.VX purchased last year, saying the product contained no fruit juice from oranges, peaches, strawberries or cherries as illustrated on the packaging. Instead it contained only grape juice from concentrate.
The lawsuit also complained the product contained mostly corn syrup and sugar rather than juice.
After a lower court dismissed the suit against the well-known baby food company, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the legal action should be allowed to proceed.
"There are a number of features of the packaging Gerber used for its Fruit Juice Snacks product which could likely deceive a reasonable consumer," Judge Harry Pregerson wrote.
"We disagree with the district court that reasonable consumers should be expected to look beyond misleading representations on the front of the box to discover the truth from the ingredient list in small print on the side of the box," he wrote.
"We do not, however, think that a busy parent walking through the aisles of a grocery store should be expected to verify that the representations on the front of the box are confirmed in the ingredient list."
Reporting by Adam Tanner, editing by Gerald E. McCormick